Summary: We know in theory we can find grace anywhere, but in practice can find it in a brothel?
Grace in an Unlikely Place
If you are like most people, then your family tree probably has some folks in it that you’d rather not talk about. Not just the nuts and saps that collect in most trees but people that when you are drawing your family tree you are tempted to use the white out. We just don’t like to talk about the horse thieves, crooks and politicians that we find there.
But as Thomas fuller said, “He that has no fools, knaves nor beggars in his family must have been begot by a flash of lightning.” And in many cases families will often try to sanitize their past, except for Aussies who seem quite proud of the criminal heritage of their country, if your ancestors arrived in Australia in chains that’s something to brag about.
And sometime in February when we are buried in snow up to our noses and it’s a thousand below zero I want you to think about the fact that people settled Canada willing but they had to be sent to Australia as prisoners.
This is our second week of Moments of Grace and you’ll remember from last week that the Oxford English Dictionary: defines grace as “The free and unmerited favour of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings.”
At Cornerstone I often say: Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is getting less than what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
Bob Goff, Author of “Love Does” tweeting a while ago this great definition of Grace “Grace is a painting God's still completing over our torn canvases.”
This week we find grace in a most unlikely place . . . a brothel. Not many stories in the Bible start in a house of ill repute, as a matter of fact I can only think of one other.
We read the original story earlier but it is summed up in one verse in Hebrews 11, a chapter in the bible that is often called “The Faith Hall of Fame,” and there is a lot that was left unsaid in the Hebrews account that could lead to some wild speculations.
So here is the verse from Hebrews 11:31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. Nod Nod, wink wink. Friendly welcome indeed.
And that is why a text out of context is a pretext. You see the original readers of Hebrews 11 would know exactly what was meant by “a friendly welcome” while the rest of you just think you know. And as a boss of mine used to say “The only thing you get from jumping to conclusions are sore feet.”
And to be fair Rahab may have given the spies a “friendly welcome”, nod, nod, wink wink, but that wasn’t what she was being commended for in Hebrews 11. So let’s go back to the beginning and find out the rest of the story.
You know the history here. Moses has led the Hebrews in the greatest escape every chronicled. You can read about it in the book called Exodus, not the Leon Uris novel but the second book of the Bible.
Now what should have been a fairly straight forward trip across the desert turns into a 40-year epic because of the disobedience and unbelief of the Hebrew people.
Now however, the promise is about to be fulfilled. The Promised Land lies just within their grasp, the people have left the desert, now they have to cross the Jordan and get past the city of Jericho.
And so we read in Joshua 2:1 Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night.
The guys don’t seem all that focused on their trip, the two men set out and immediately end up at the house of a prostitute.
But to be fair a brothel would be a place where people would be used to strange men showing up at all hours. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that there were strategic reasons for ending up at Rahab’s place.
However, word had somehow gotten out to the King of Jericho, who I would suspect was King like Mike Savage is King of Halifax, that spies had entered the land. And he immediately sends his men to Rahab’s place.
Must have been one of those “If I was a spy where would I go first?” questions and the answer was “Oh yeah, Rahab’s, she has that discount that she gives to spies.”